It's Christmas 1183, and King Henry II is planning to announce his successor to the throne. The jockeying for the crown, though, is complex. Henry has three sons and wants his boy Prince John to take over. Henry's wife, Queen Eleanor, has other ideas. She believes their son Prince Richard should be king. As the family and various schemers gather for the holiday, each tries to make the indecisive king choose their option.Written by
For the greatest authenticity, the actors and actresses wore their costumes as long as possible before shooting a scene, so that they looked soiled and frayed. Although Costume Designer Margaret Furse preferred dark clothes, Katharine Hepburn talked her into brighter colors for Eleanor, who she reasoned had been to the Middle East, and would have owned many vividly colored articles. See more »
Christmas trees were an obscure German tradition, unknown to the English until its introduction by Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert over 700 years later. Furthermore, even the concept of decorating with glass balls was even unknown to the Germans until long after this era. See more »
Possibly the best dialogue ever written for a film... ever.
I love this film. I love this film. I am not sure that I can say that phrase enough when describing this movie. Lion in Winter is quite simply one of the strangest and most beautiful movies that I have ever seen. It is some wierd amalgam of a 'home for the hollidays' type family drama, and Machiavellian political intrigue.
The essential plot is that it is 1183 and Henry II must declare his successor to the Plantagenet throne. He invites his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine (played by Katherine Hepburn), who is in exile, and his sons to along with king of France, to Christmas dinner. Over the course of the evening truths are told and arguments are had, the film rolls over all of the conventions of the many genres that it plays with and turns them into something new and beautiful.
The film could have been written by Machiavelli himself, and often smacks of the Mandragola. The film demonstrates family disfunction within a very interesting, medieval paradigm. While the film is about issues such as family, loyalty and love, ultimately is most gratifying as a vehicle for O'Toole and Hepburn to chew the scenery and dig into a few truly juicy roles.
It is fantastic film that any lover of dialogue driven drama-comedy should rent and watch over and over again.
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